This week, the Center for Education Reform released its Education Tax Credit Rankings and Scorecard, which evaluates the fourteen tax credit funded scholarship programs across the country.
Georgia’s program, which was created in 2008, received a “B”.
The Georgia program scores well in many of the categories like program design and eligibility requirements. However, we fall out of the top of the rankings because the total program is capped at $58 million annually–which might sound like a lot of money but actually only represents 0.14% of the overall state budget. The program is so popular, the $58 million cap was reached this year in just three weeks. Nearly all of the Student Scholarship Organizations who distribute the scholarships to students have waiting lists.
By contrast, the Florida program, which received an “A”, allocates $286 million in tax credits to fund scholarships that allow almost 60,000 students to attend a school that better meets their individual needs.
Arizona, the other state receiving an “A” grade, does not limit the total dollar value of individual donations and caps corporate donations at $36 million annually. There are more than 42,000 students on tax credit scholarships in Arizona.
Georgia’s program serves about 13,000 students who have moved from a traditional public school to a private school using scholarships funded by individuals and corporations who receive a tax credit for their donations. That represents a mere .007% of Georgia’s 1.7 million public school students.
Because every child is different, we need a variety of options at our disposal when it comes to education. Tax credit scholarships are just one of many ways we can ensure that all Georgia children have access to a quality school. And given our grade in the report card, perhaps we still have more to learn from other states that continue to give even more families the flexibility to meet the educational needs of their children.
To learn more about Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program and other school choice options in the state, see our 2014 School Choice Handbook.